Sunday, March 30, 2014

NL Predictions

Opening day is Monday for the 2014 MLB season.  I will now make predictions for the upcoming season.  I waited to the end of spring training in order view all the player movements and injuries. So here goes, my fearless predictions for the National League:
Washington Nationals: I believe will win the division this year. After an underwhelming year in 2013, I think they will bounce back and play better as a team.  The addition of Doug Fister(once he is off the DL) will benefit them also.
Atlanta Braves:  The defending division champs have suffered a rash of injuries to the pitching staff this spring.  The Braves still have a strong nucleus of players around them and should be able to win a wild card spot especially if B.J. Upton and Dan Uggla have bounce back years.
Philadelphia Phillies:  The oldest team in the NL.  They seem to be stuck in the middle of having veterans players and trying to win now with a few mix of younger stars in an attempt to rebuild.  Because of the lack of direction, they will be stuck in the middle of the division
New York Mets:  They have improved over the last season with additions of Curtis Granderson and Bartolo Colon.  They still have a holes in the lineup and the loss of Matt Harvey for the season will hurt. Still a year away from contending or in consideration of contending.
Miami Marlins:  They have added some legitimate MLB talent with their young talented stars and prospects.  Still a lot of work needs to be done.  But are heading in right direction.

St. Louis Cardinals:  The defending NL pennant winners still have alot of talent.  Addition of Peter Bourjos and Jhonny Peralta should offset the loss of Carlos Beltran and are still loaded in pitching.  I don't see them not winning the division again this year.
Pittsburgh Pirates,  They finally broke through last year and made the playoffs after suffering 20 years of losing seasons.  They had a quiet off season even after losing AJ Burnett, Justin Morneau and Marlon Byrd to free agency.  Gregory Polanco is name to keep an eye in Pittsburgh.
Cincinnati Reds:  They lost Bronson Arroyo and Shin Soo Choo to free agency.  Plus we don't know how long Aroldis Chapman will be out after suffering a line drive to the face this spring.  Not sure they will have enough to make playoffs, but will field a pretty good team all year.
Milwaukee Brewers:  Should have a better team than last year just having a full season of Ryan Braun in the field-provided he is not suspended again.  The Brew Crew has some nice talent on the team, but not enough to compete in my opinion.
Chicago Cubs:  Some of their big time prospects could make their debuts at the friendly confines of  Wrigley Field in 2014.  There is still work that needs to be done in Chicago before a division is within reach.

Los Angeles Dodgers:  The highest payroll in MLB and all the talent should lead them to another division crown in 2014. 
San Francisco Giants:  Many of the core players from their two World Series championships are still there. The addition of proven winner Tim Hudson in the rotation should help.  A believe a wild card spot is in order here.
Arizona Diamondbacks:  The addition of Mark Trumbo gives them another big bat in the lineup and pitching staff is quite young.  Manager Kirk Gibson will have them play hard but not enough wins will happen.
San Diego Padres:  A good group of hard nosed players who will compete on a daily basis.  Similar to Oakland A's of the AL.  But I don't they have as much talent as Oakland so they will not win a division.
Colorado Rockies:  They have Tony Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez.  Couple other decent young hitters, but pitching is lacking.  It will be a long season in Colorado.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Card of Week: 1991 Topps Archives '53 Joe Garagiola

First of all, I would like to apologize for my little hiatus.  I had a death in the family, so I have not been a writing mood.  The cause of the death was basically due to a lifetime of smoking cigarettes.  I am going to get a little preachy here today.

This week's card is of Joe Garagiola from the 1991 Topps Archives set.  This set was a reprint of the 1953 Topps set. This set had a couple differences from the original set.  The newer version was produced in the standard baseball card size as opposed to the larger version of the original set.  The 1991 set also included an additional 57 cards of players who was not a part of the 1953 set.  The Garagiola is one of them.

Garagiola was a career backup catcher from 1946-1954, in which included winning a World Series with St. Louis Cardinals in 1946.  After his playing days, he began a very successful career in broadcasting.  Most notably working for NBC on their game of the week with fellow Ford Frick Award winner Vin Scully.  Garagiola also had a co hosting stint on NBC's Today show and spelled Johnny Carson on the Tonight Show on occasion.  Garagiola is also the recipient of 2014 Buck O'Neil Lifetime Achievement Award.
After Garagiola's broadcasting days at NBC was over, he visited many spring training camps and preached the health risks of smokeless tobacco.  Garagiola had lost several of his former teammates and friends because of and wanted to eliminate the use of the tobacco product from the game. So the moral of today's post is....smoking. bad.  smokeless tobacco....also bad.